The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Acquires Coveted Malcolm X Manuscripts

New York - The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem acquired several important manuscripts related to the landmark work The Autobiography of Malcolm X - manuscripts that will now be available to the public for the first time.

The internationally-renowned New York Public Library research center acquired the items at auction, including:

  • The full 241-page manuscript of The Autobiography of Malcolm X with handwritten corrections and notes from both Malcolm X and collaborator Alex Haley.
  • A previously unpublished chapter from the book, believed to be omitted from publication after Malcolm X’s assassination. The 25-page typewritten chapter - titled “The Negro” - is thought to be one of three unpublished chapters in existence. It is as yet unclear why the chapters were removed.
  • A series of literal and literary “fragments,” or short notes and drafts by Malcolm X written or typed on small pieces of paper.

All three important acquisitions related to the Nation of Islam minister and civil rights leader will soon be accessible at the Schomburg Center - marking the first time that members of the public will be able to see them. The items were previously held by a private collector, who acquired them at the sale of Alex Haley’s estate in 1992.

“These materials are extremely significant, as they can provide researchers with extensive new insights into the writing process and thoughts of one of the most important and influential figures and books of the 20th Century,” said Schomburg Center Director Kevin Young. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a monumental work; to actually see how that book took shape through Malcolm X’s handwritten corrections and notes is very powerful. Additionally, the omitted chapter, believed to be removed after Malcolm X’s death, places the work in a new context, and provide an understanding as to why it was excluded from the book in the first place. The possibilities for new revelations are nearly endless, and we are so proud that the Schomburg Center can bring this material to light for the first time.”

The materials will arrive at the Schomburg Center in the coming weeks. Scholars interested in using the materials must make an appointment with the Schomburg Center’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division. More information can be found at Schomburg.org.

The Schomburg Center already holds and makes accessible to scholars over 16 linear feet of Malcolm X manuscript material, including a diary, letters, speeches, photographs, and journals. Those items are on long-term loan at the Schomburg Center from Malcolm X’s family.

 

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